The Estherville Lincoln Central boys had plenty of chances to take a win from rival Spirit Lake on Friday, but the Indians made enough free throws in the second overtime to win 51-47.
After ELC's Evan Hansen hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two, Paul Brown hit two free throws with 6 seconds remaining to give Spirit Lake the victory.
ELC coach York Plagge said it was frustrating to watch.
ELC’s Matt Burrell (14) challenges the interior defense of Spirit Lake’s Zach Arneson (21) and Cole Thate (35)
EDN photo by David Swartz
"We'd come down and have a good possession and get a good shot," he said. "The next time we came down we'd take some puzzling shots."
However Plagge said he liked the pace of the game.
"If we play like this night-in and night-out and fine tune a few things, we'll be a tough team to beat," he said.
Spirit Lake jumped out to a 7-2 lead to start the game when Hansen hit a 3-pointer followed by consecutive 3-pointers from Swanson to give ELC an 11-7 lead.
A basket by David Hughes before the end of the quarter gave the Midgets a 13-7 advantage.
ELC had its biggest lead of the night when Adam Reiter stole an inbounds pass at halfcourt and scored the left-hand layup for a 15-7 lead.
But the Indians fought back and two free throws by Alex Pringnitz with 1:59 left in the half cut the deficit to one, 15-14.
But as the half came to a close Matt Burrell hit a 3-pointer that gave ELC a 20-16 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, ELC stretched the lead back to seven on another Hansen 3-pointer at 27-20.
But the Midgets struggled to score the remainder of the period. A basket by Pringnitz tied the game at 29-29. Alec Henrickson scored the next four points, the last basket on an ELC turnover, as the Indians took a 33-29 lead into the final frame.
Hansen's third 3-pointer of the night started the fourth quarter, a free throw by Matt Burrell tied the game at 33-33 and a free throw by Brad Olsen gave ELC the lead a 34-33.
But then neither team could buy a basket. Henrickson tied the game at 34-34 with a free throw. Both teams had chances to win in the final 2:24, but couldn't convert.
In the first overtime, Joe Heinrichs hit a pair of baskets to give ELC a 38-36 lead, but Spirit Lake battled back and led 41-39 after a free throw by Brown.
ELC was still down by that score with nine seconds remaining. Burrell was given the ball and he drove to the basket and converted to tie the game at 41-41 to send the game into the second overtime.
This time, Spirit Lake drew fouls and converted at the free throw line to build a 48-42 lead.
Heinrichs hit a basket with 23 seconds left. After a free throw by Henrickson, Hansen's final trey of the night made the score 49-47.
Hansen led ELC with 12 points while Burrell had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Heinrichs finished with eight points, Swanson had six, Hughes had five, Derek Nieland and Reiter each had two and Olsen had one.
ELC made seven 3-pointers, but was 4-for-1 from the free throw line. The Midgets had 33 rebounds and 10 turnovers.
The Indians won the game at the free throw line where they were 15-for-23 and they also had 41 rebounds to just 11 turnovers.
Pringnitz and Heinrichs each had 14 points with Pringnitz pulling down 13 rebounds. Zach Arneson had 11 points while Brown had six, Sam Harms had four and Trevor Smith had two.
ELC (4-5 overall, 2-3 in the lakes Conference) is at Pocahontas on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013.
Spirit Lake (6-3 overall, 2-3 in the conference) is in Sioux City to take on West Sioux, Hawarden on Saturday, Jan. 5.